Former Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer poses for photographers in his new DeNA BayStars uniform during an introductory press conference in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on March 24, 2023. Bauer, who was suspended by Major League Baseball in 2022 following allegations of sexual assault, has signed a one-year deal with DeNA. (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
Trevor Bauer’s career in Nippon Professional Baseball has been something of a roller coaster ride.
After his first three starts with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars big league club, he was sent down to their minor-league affiliate due to his poor performance on the mound. Prior to Bauer’s demotion, he lasted just two innings on May 16 against the Hiroshima Carp, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits.
Bauer only made one start with the BayStars minor league team, but it seemed to have guided him in the right direction, as he delivered his best pitching line of the season on Saturday in a 6-2 Yokohama win against the Saitama Seibu Lions. In eight innings of work, he allowed just two earned runs on three hits. The Lions generated their two runs off of solo home runs from second baseman Shuta Tonosaki and pinch hitter Shota Hiranuma. Bauer walked three, but struck out a season high 10 hitters on 109 pitches.
Bauer, a former Cy Young Award winner with the Cincinnati Reds in 2020, will need more starts like Saturday’s to revamp his career. He made his MLB debut in 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and seemingly improved every year from that point on. His breakout season came in 2018 with the Cleveland Guardians, striking out a career high 11.3 batters per nine innings. After the shortened 2020 season due to the pandemic, Bauer became a free agent. That winter, he signed a three-year deal worth $102 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bauer’s time with Los Angeles was cut short in 2021, after he was placed on administrative leave by MLB for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy. Although he never faced criminal charges, Bauer was suspended 324 games by Major League Baseball, and never pitched for the Dodgers again. The Los Angeles Dodgers released Bauer in January of 2021, and he was unable to find a new suitor in the MLB. Bauer signed a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in March.
In four starts with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, Bauer has a 6.86 ERA in 21 innings. He is striking out 10.7 hitters per nine innings, but has had troubles with the long ball, as he’s given up seven thus far.
The Yokohama DeNA BayStars next game will be Sunday, June 4 at 1 a.m. EDT against the Saitama Seibu Lions. Yokohama is currently second place in the Central League, with a record of 27-20 and five games back of the first place Hanshin Tigers.